Back at school – not quite, but sort of…

Guidance from a teacher… sort of

Back in October 2011, I wrote a post about how I wished I was back at school. This had nothing to do with actual school, but more to do with having the guidance of my English teachers in developing my writing.

I have some good news. I have been working with an editor on the chapter book I wrote during the 2013 Chapter Book Challenge and, in many ways, it’s been like working with my old English teachers. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Each draft of the manuscript I send to her, she sends back covered with comments and suggestions. To start with, there were red marks on every page and I would work through them and either change things or justify why something was the way it was. Then, I would send it back to her for the next round of edits.

During this process the story took shape, changing and improving with every round of edits. There were also things that may have fit in one draft, and not fit in the next.

One of the best things for me is that it’s been pushing me to improve the story beyond what I would have thought. The word count has increased through this process and the story has more substance to the first draft (I still have a copy of it for my own memories).

For me, key to working with a good editor is finding someone who is familiar with the genre you write. In my case, my editor is a former school teacher, so is familiar not only with books that appeal to primary school kids, but also the kids themselves. You also need to get on with them and trust their judgement.

Another important thing is to know what you want. Are you looking for someone to simply proofread what you’ve written, or help you develop the story? Different editors offer different editorial services, so to get the best out of your editor, be clear for what you’re looking for.

Remember, that just because an editor has been great for one person, doesn’t mean they will automatically be a good fit for you.

Oh and if you want to know who I’ve been working with for this book, contact Julieann Wallace at Lilly Pilly Press.

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  1. Good post, Melissa, addressing a topic that is needed. Good advice for finding the right editor!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Beth. I find it interesting that I was looking for a great editor a couple of years ago, I just wasn’t completely sure what I needed. Now I’ve found it 🙂

  2. Great post. I often feel quite anxious about the thought of an editor and what they might want me to change or if my story might get lost amongst their suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks Becky. I think a good editor will keep the essence of a story and improve on it. Often my editor asks questions about what I’ve written, especially the first time around. I hope it’s so she can understand what I’m trying to say and tease out the gems that are lying there in my draft 🙂

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